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“I joined the Party to keep ourselves out of the System.” Neo-Pagan Survival Strategies in Socialist Hungary

László Koppány Csáji
Published Online: 2017-05-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2017-0017


The paper presents a Hungarian Ethno-Pagan group (Bolyanest) which was established in 1979, active in and around Budapest. In the early 80s the group was a forum for New Age-like ideas: Gaia cult, esoteric concepts, natural-based peace-campaigns, yoga, Reiki and other theories about nature, love, humanity, human potentials and peace. The author analyses how this group shifted slowly from the New Age to the Neo-Pagan characteristics during the 80s. The group had a complex survival strategy, which contained several conscious and instinctual responses to the communist system. One of these was the use of espionage: having an informer within the police from among their membership to provide reports that were to benefit the movement. Another strategy was that some members joined the Socialist Party to reassure the communist authorities of their loyalty. The Hungarian society considered communism as a field of parallel realities: one was the communist system‘s narratives, and the other was the society‘s private discourses. Beside these, Bolyanest members created a third reality: the group‘s own value-system and narratives. The cognitive ability to alternate between the realities was also an important key to survival.

Keywords: New Age; Ethno-Paganism; anarchism; nationalism; Gaia cult; Socialist block; Hungary


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About the article

Received: 2017-01-31

Accepted: 2017-04-18

Published Online: 2017-05-11

Published in Print: 2017-01-26

Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 211–223, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2017-0017.

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© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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